It’s about this time every year when we begin to have those days where spring is trying to burst through winter that I start coming up with grand plans for the summer. As my children play outside, I sit and daydream about vegetable gardens and climbing roses and different ways that I can screw up building a patio. I think about spending the whole summer outside with dirty feet and cold drinks and I can hear birds and their laughter when I close my eyes. These daydreams make the last weeks of winter almost impossible to get through, but when spring finally arrives and then ushers in summer, I have a plan.
Problem is that I have indoor kids. Admittedly it’s on me for making them that way, as my summers are often spent working at my computer while I say, “Yeah, in five minutes” to my kids more often than I care to admit to you or to myself. But this summer, I’m guarding my time with them like a mama bear protecting her cubs. My cub this year is my time. My time to play and plant things and start projects that I might actually finish. I’m slimming down my summer photography schedule so that I can have the time with them that I can see in my mind. I know that not every day will be idyllic and I’ll still have to say, “Not today” or “Yeah, in five minutes” to them, but it is my hope that those phrases come few and far between the times where I say, “Yes! Let’s do that right now.”
I have fleeting memories of summers before I was their age, but this is the time in my life where I really start to remember what life was like for me as a kid and I want them to be able to have the same kinds of memories I do – and then add some in that are even better. Right now I’m dreaming of sticky popsicle hands and fireflies in jars and finding shapes in the clouds. Sunburns and sprinklers and rocks getting stuck in between toes. I can smell my mother’s peonies in the backyard of my childhood home and I can remember exactly how the grass felt under my growing feet. As I get older, I realize how truly fast it all moves and I think that in just a few short summers from now, they’ll be off with the neighborhood kids and not wanting to dig worms out of the yard with me. This is the time that I get, and it’s up to me to make it count.